Jessie describes how she came into Queen’s Nursing by circumstance, but how she enjoyed the training, which included the many closes and tenements of the Royal Mile. She recalls the importance of health education, and how new innovations could be revolutionary. She describes the key difference between ward nursing and district nursing, in that on the ward everything was available, but in the district, nurses had to make use of what was available to them.
Jessie details the emotional impact of working closely with people in their own homes, and how she still remembers some of the terminal cases to this day. She also outlines the benefits of the meaningful relationship with communities, how she’d return home to find someone had washed her car, or left a fresh fish for her dinner.
One story shows the importance of screening, as everyone in Buckie was tested for diabetes, including requiring samples from all the men on the fishing boats!
Jessie sadly passed away in August 2021, aged 86.
In 2016, journalist Pennie Taylor was commissioned to compile oral histories from our retired Queen’s Nurses. Interviews with nine Queen’s Nurses as part of the project “Voices of Experience” were filmed, and these videos provide an informative and colourful depiction of life as a community nurse across the latter half of the twentieth century. Each interviewee brings a unique perspective, creating a comprehensive look at the importance of Queen’s Nurses to Scotland’s communities. The interviews help to illustrate how training and practice have changed over the years, and are a fascinating piece of our history which we are delighted to be able to share with you.
We were delighted to have Pennie on board, and her journalistic experience and professionalism showed throughout the whole process, creating these nine immersive videos. Pennie said:
“It was a treat to get to know them all, and to share their memories of working lives spent helping others in cities, towns and villages the length and breadth of the land. Each has a unique experience and perspective, of course, but what struck me about them collectively was their ingenuity and bravery, coupled with a deep-rooted commitment to delivering the highest quality nursing care possible.”